The Books Lemon of Pink

[Tomlab; 2003]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: sound collage, electro-acoustic. sample music
Others: Prefuse 73, Dntel, Flim, Patrick Wolf, The Avalanches, musique-concrete

Thought for Food, The Books debut release, was one of the most absorbing releases of 2002. Sounding both complex and simplistic, the album was perhaps only faulted by its slight (very slight) incoherence and inconsistency. However, Lemon of Pink, their second release for Tomlab, replaces the faults with their opposites (i.e. coherence and consistency) while still retaining the complex/simplistic duality that has characterized the group's sound ever since its inception. Fronted by Nick Willscher Zammuto and Paul de Jong, The Books' shtick, if you will, is the masterful use of Western and Eastern vernacular as both form and content. At one moment, the words are used as additional rhythmic texture — in other moments, the words are utilized for literary purposes. As stated on their website, however, The Books' goal is not to "appropriate or take possession of sound, but rather to re-contextualize within a musical continuum." So, instead of playing the voice samples exactly in the context recorded, The Books strip all contextual meaning by cutting them up, playing snippets, or overtly mixing sentences around. Thus, in the fashion of the Assemblage visual artists, The Books create new thoughts about their found objects by placing them under a different light. But with all the dialectical processes in work (form/content, sample/live, complex/simple), there's no synthesis, no hybridization, no watered-down combination of the pairs. In fact, it's hard enough to discern between a sampled instrument and a live instrument, and it's precisely this ambiguity that keeps the album ticking. In short, Lemon of Pink is an amalgamation of disparate elements that bounce off one another without shooting out of orbit - a rich introduction to the world of sample music. And it just so happens to be one of the best albums of 2003.

1. The Lemon of Pink
2. The Lemon of Pink
3. Tokyo
4. Bonanza
5. S is for Evrysing
6. Explanation Mark
7. There is No There
8. Take Time
9. Don't Even Sing About It
10. The Future, Wouldn't That Be Nice?
11. A True Story of a Story of True Love
12. That Right Ain't Shit
13. P.S.